PM Lee says agencies on the ground must help needy navigate aid schemes

Community Development Councils must help to build up new social services offices that are being set up in Housing Board towns, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Friday. -- PHOTO: AFP
Community Development Councils must help to build up new social services offices that are being set up in Housing Board towns, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Friday. -- PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - Community Development Councils (CDCs) must help to build up new social services offices(SSOs) that are being set up in Housing Board towns, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Friday.

"You must use your knowledge and networks to help the SSOs start off on the right foot, and strike the right balance between administrative efficiency and personal touch," Mr Lee said at a swearing-in ceremony for mayors yesterday.

The five mayors take charge of the CDCs.

Mr Lee said that "the needy continue to require help, as extended family ties weaken, and more elders live alone or only with their spouses".

He added that the CDCs' work in helping the needy has shown the usefulness of being close to the ground.

That is why the Ministry of Social and Family Development(MSF) is setting up 20 SSOs island-wide to administer social assistance to needy families in HDB towns.

These offices will "help Singaporeans navigate through the 'kueh lapis' of Government assistance programmes," Mr Lee said.

At the ceremony, Mr Lee, who is also the chairman of the People's Association, appointed two new mayors: Ms Low Yen Ling as mayor for South West District, and Ms Denise Phua as mayor for Central Singapore District.

They take over from Senior Minister of State Amy Khor and Minister of State Sam Tan, who stepped down as mayors last month to focus on new responsibilities in the Health Ministry and Prime Minister's Office respectively.

Three mayors were also reappointed: Dr Teo Ho Pin, Mr Teo Ser Luck and Dr Maliki Osman.

Dr Teo takes over from Dr Khor as chairman of the mayors' committee.

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